Why is it so hard to remember where you park the car at a grocery store? I never used to have this issue. In my younger days I knew exactly where I’d left the car. Slowly, I began to realize I needed to scan the lot for my car. So I came up with a plan, park in the same area every time. Now, I can head in the right direction and spot the car easily.

That works when you are at your normal stores, but what happens when you stop at a store where you don’t have a usual area?

I walked out the same door I had entered ten minutes earlier. My mind was still reeling from the scene in the grocery store. Police officers were trying to restrain a woman who was howling, “Don’t hurt me! I said I was sorry. Don’t hurt me!” They were off to the side, so you couldn’t see, but the sound was piercing and continuous.

I spotted my red car and walked up to it. I noticed it looked like the tail lights were on. I reasoned it must be the angle of the sun hitting the lights that made it look like they were on. I reached for the automatic tailgate button. Slowly, the tailgate rose, but it did not reveal my collapsible crate , but instead a walker! What?! There was a woman sitting in the passenger seat! This was not my car! Quickly I apologized and pressed the button to close the tailgate.

I walked around to the passenger door and profusely apologized to the laughing woman. She had assumed it was her husband opening the tailgate with their groceries. My car was on the row in front of hers and two parking places down.

I’m going to need a better plan for finding my car in grocery parking lots.

Which Way?

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I confess, I may tend to have challenges when it comes to directions. Don’t tell me to go north, south, east, or west. Just tell me to turn left or right at Pizza Hut or the Dollar Tree.

I’m usually pretty good at following road signs, unless I am entering Indianapolis on Interstate 70, traveling east. I’m going to blame the signage rather than the driver.

I know I want 465N, I watch for 465N but there is no N. The sign says 465S, then another one appears with just 465. I stay the course looking for 465 N. As the two highways run parallel, I spot 465N now appears on the sign, but I can’t get to that road any longer. 😦

Oh good, it says 465N in fifteen miles. Slight relief washes over my body. I’d like to find an exit so I can consult my map (yes, it is a map that one folds), but this does not look like an area I want to be in by myself.

I have a decision to make: Columbus, Ohio or Chicago, Illinois. I choose Chicago, but now my highway is no longer 70 but instead I am on 65. Thoughts are tumbling around my mind like clothes in a dryer. I’m concerned that I might end up in a dangerous neighborhood since I don’t know this city.

Finally, I can exit to get gas and check my map. It looks like I’m close to finding 465N, so I get back on the road. Two miles later I find my highway, finally I am through the city and back on the right route.

One of these days, I will breeze through the city with no panic attacks. This was not the year. Maybe next year. 🙂


Traffic Lights

My eyes scan the traffic ahead of me. My mind is busy. Wondering what lane to select. Planning the best route for my trip to where ever I’m headed.

Up ahead I notice the light is green, but will it be when I get there? Will I be able to stop if it turns red? I judge that I will have to stop. Now I consider how many cars are ahead of me. Is there a truck with a trailer? Is there a semi? Where will I be in the line? I like to be first in line. Two cars will be ahead of me, but a quick glance to the lane next to me is empty. If I move over, I will be first. I am now first in line.

As I wait for the light to turn green, I look to see who is in the car next to me. Will they be a quick starter? Will they be a dawdler? My eyes return to the traffic light. I want to be ready when the light turns green. The light changes, I pause to be sure the cross traffic has stopped before I move forward.

I like to be first because I’m not very patient with people who don’t go when the light turns green. It’s particularly annoying when I’m second or third in line. Four seconds pass and we are still standing still. I give an exasperated sigh that no one can hear, except me.

Now if I’m farther back, my attitude is completely different. I am less impatient, more resigned to my position in traffic. So, I wait patiently for the line to begin to move. Now I’m back assessing, will I make it through or will I have to stop?

The traffic cycle of assessing positions starts again and continues,  until I am back home and in my garage.

Where Is It?

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Pushing the door to exit Kohls, I step into the sunshine and confusion. “Where did I park my car?

My eyes scanned the rows, looking for some familiar shape. My mind rewinding my arrival to the parking lot. I turned around and looked back at the door I’d just left. Yes, that was the door I entered, which verified I was in the correct area of the parking lot.

The only thing left to do was wander up and down the rows of cars while clicking my key fob, listening for the beep, beep of the car doors unlocking and the flashing of the tail lights. Trying not to look like I lost my car (which I clearly had), I walked with a determined step. At one point, I knew I was too far away from the door, so I crossed over to another row. Clicking, listening, looking for some sign of my car. No luck!

Just when I began to panic (thinking my car was stolen), I remembered I did not drive my usual car. I had taken our other car because my husband was using my usual car to haul away tree clippings. Relief flooded my body! Of course there would be no beep from pressing my key fob.

Now I needed to scan the parking lot for a different car profile.  One quick look did not reveal the car. This car is keyless, so I had to dig deep into my purse for the fob for this car. Once again, I trudged up and down the rows of cars clicking, listening, looking. Once again, panic begins to snake its way throughout my body.

Faintly, I hear a beep respond to my click. One row over, tail lights flash as I try it again. Yes, there it is! Now I remember, I scored a great parking place, the second car in the row, just a few steps away from the door, too bad I didn’t remember that as I left the store fifteen minutes ago.

New Car?

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

After weeks (maybe it was just days, but it felt like weeks) of discussions the car decision was made. We had our eye on a white Toyota Avalon with gray leather. Back and forth -offers for our car, how much more to pay, will side molding be included? In the final hours of the work week, we thought we had a deal, but we didn’t get confirmation from the salesman. We were left wondering. (Car dealers are not open on Sunday.)

New week begins, would we hear from the dealer? All day, no contact (or so we thought). Apparently the salesman did contact us, but the phone used had the ringer turned off while enduring oral surgery and recovery. How easy is it to forget the ringer is off? However, no message was left.

The next day we try to contact the salesman, but it is his day off. Assuming the deal is off, we look for other options in vehicles. Another day spent weighing options. This car? That car?

Just as a new decision is about to be made, the salesman calls. We got the deal on the first car! Yeah! Be there the next day to fill out paperwork.

Then the phone call we did not want to recieve. Our car of choice was sold on the salesman’s day off. He had not done his job. We were not happy. He apologized profusely. That did not help. We were not interested in the other cars on the lot. He promised to search and find another car like our first pick.

Fortunately, there was one nearby and they could do a dealer trade. So at long last we have the car we wanted. Now we just need to figure out how all the electronics work.



My Lucky Day

Keyless cars are a wonderful thing, but only if you know the tricks of operating it. How nice it is to just get into the car, push a button, and it springs to life. Just walk up to the door and it automatically unlocks (of course if you are carrying a purse, you need to make sure the purse is near). A recent trick I learned is to slide your hand in the rear door handle and it will unlock all the doors at once.

Keyless car was the car for the road trip to Indiana. It worked like a charm. Doors locked and unlocked on cue. I was feeling smug that I knew the tricks to this car (and it only took three years).

The feeling of smugness evaporated when I was out and about on a multiple store shopping trip. I reached my first store, pressed the lock and as I moved away from the car, it beeped. It was the beep of unlocking. How odd I thought as I walked into the store. Returning to the car, I touch to unlock, Hmmm, I think the car door was already unlocked. Something is not right.

On to the next store, I go to lock, but as soon as I lock, it beeps the unlock sound. I hold my purse far away from the car and try touching the little button on the handle to lock it. It answers with a piercing whistle. Still puzzled, I go in do my shopping and return to a car I don’t think was locked.

Third store, still fighting with the car to lock it. This time I dig the fob out of my purse to lock the car. Same results, it won’t lock. I thought about calling my husband and ask why the car was acting this way, but I don’t. I will wait until I get home and demonstrate. Of course I know that it will probably work just fine in the garage.

I pull into the garage, put the car into park, but this time my eyes spot something in the well of the cup holder. What is this? It is a keyless fob to the car! No wonder the car would not lock! It recognized that there was a key inside the car. Mystery solved!

So let’s clarify this information – If a keyless car won’t lock, check for the key inside the car. It was my lucky day that a car thief was not out patrolling and looking for easy cars to steal that day.

Some People!

Yesterday I headed out to meet up with my gal pals for a dinner, a drink, and a catch-up on what’s been happening since we last met. As I drove, I pondered my dilemma, no Slice of Life story! My mind flips back through the week. Surely, something memorable stands out. Hmmm, nothing passes the interest factor in my mind.

While these thoughts pass through, I notice a beat-up, dirty green car in front of me. The driver speeds up, then slows down. He veers into the center lane, he veers back into his lane. I think, “This idiot must me texting.” I decide to keep my distance from him and watch carefully.

We arrive at an intersection with a stoplight. Of course, it is red with a long line of cars waiting. I know I will not make it through when  the light turns green. I settle back waiting patiently, hoping that the cars will move swiftly, but they don’t. The light becomes red. So I wait, third in line for the next green light.

The left turn light turns green, apparently the green car thinks he can go too. He moves forward, then he backs up. “What are you doing?” I wondered. Suddenly all is revealed when the first car driver gets out of her clean, shiny  white car. She walks to the back of her car and looks first at her bumper, then at the driver of the green car. The green car tries to get around her, but he stops as she talks to him. The hand gesturing indicates she wants to pull through the intersection to the other side and they can investigate damage further. She gets back into her car, crosses the street, pulling over. The green car however, did not follow her. He takes an immediate right turn and zooms off getting lost in the traffic of the road.

I cannot believe what I just saw! I wish I had taken note of the green car’s license plate. I feel sorry for the driver of the white car as I pass her pulled over and inspecting her car. It makes me so mad at the driver of the green car, but I also feel grateful that I was not in front of the green car. Some people!

It Wasn’t Easy

It was time. Time to say farewell to my car. This car served us well. It was the car bought during my last year of teaching, so it was to be a retirement car. Not our usual sort of car, but one bought because it would be fun. It was a  two-door convertible, not the most practical car, but a fun one. After 130,000 + miles, we decided it was time to let the convertible go.

Two years ago, we bought a Scion IQ to run around town, which would let the convertible rest. However, after one trip of forty miles, a problem was discovered. My husband has arthritis in his knee which became inflamed due to the height and depth of the seat. He would be unable to drive this little car. I knew it had to go, we don’t need a car that will cause pain when driving.

So now the search is on. My husband LOVES cars. He can read about cars all day long on the internet. He spends Sundays wandering around car lots peering into cars, studying the posted sticker, hoping the dealer left one open so he can explore the interior. (In our state car lots are closed on Sunday, so you don’t have sales people chasing you down.)

He is the person friends and family turn to when they want to buy a car. He can tell you the pros/cons, price you should pay, options you should consider, reliability of this vehicle, and those thoughts only scratch the surface of what he knows. However, when it comes to purchasing a vehicle for us, he has so many facets to weigh, it becomes a nightmare.

Just to give you a hint these are some of the items that must be considered:

  • Safety, how did the car do in all the insurance crash tests?
  • Reliability, how reliable is this car, does it break down often?
  • Does this car have high ownership satisfaction on surveys?
  • What is the cost of ownership? This takes into consideration cost of insurance, gas, depreciation, repairs, cost of injuries from a crash.

If the car passes those tests, he gets down to personal preferences, such as:

  • Heated seats (for me, hotter is better)
  • Cup holders must be able to hold two 32 ounce drink cups and not rub
  • Will the storage area be tall enough for a rolling crate?
  • Does the storage have hidden out of sight capabilities?
  • It must have a sun roof (bigger is better).
  • Is it comfortable after a few hours?
  • Does it pass the knee test or does his knee begin hurting in a short period of time?
  • Is it fun to drive?

So now he has lots of boxes to tick when he begins the search. He lusts for a German made car, but deep in his heart he knows he can’t buy one. They are too expensive and they are costly to fix. No BMW or Audi or Mercedes for us. We won’t buy a car if there is no dealer in town. So that eliminates Volvo and Mini Cooper.

He has done his research and now he heads out to test drive. This is the only way he can determine if it passes the knee test. Car after car is eliminated due to the knee test. Only a few options remain. What car will it be?

He does all the legwork, so when it is getting close to a decision my input is requested or should I say required?  All along I give feedback as it is needed, but I’m not truly invested in any car search. A car is a car is a car. What matters to me is if he is happy with the decision. He can usually bribe me to look at cars with a promise of a meal out. 🙂

A decision is almost made. A car has moved to the top of the list, but it has a dent in the trunk lid. No dents allowed! However, he will be in St. Louis for a day. Maybe they will have the car. He spends the day looking at various dealers. Now we are weighing between two cars.

He picks me up from school and we begin the three hour ride home. He tells me all of the information he has discovered on his day in the city. We talk, we discuss pros and cons. I know a decision has been made. Now the question is will the dealer in town match the price of the St. Louis dealer?

Saturday my husband heads to the dealer. They match the price, a deal is made. Hallelujah the search is over! It wasn’t easy to find the car that meets our wants. So what did we get?

A Subaru Outback! I know we will have fun with the places it will take us :-)

A Subaru Outback! I know we will have fun with the places it will take us 🙂

The Free Ride Day

When you get an offer to drive a brand new car that is a hybrid for a day, you just can’t pass it up. So with one click of the mouse and one phone call we had a brand new hybrid Toyota Avalon for a day.

Before we headed out to St. Louis, we stopped to get a hair cut. We are in no hurry. Our day stretched before us with no one to meet and no place to beat any specified time. We stopped back by the house to pick up an auxiliary cord from my car so we can use my phone to listen to Pandora on the 3.5 hour drive to St. Louis.

I suggested that we stop in St. James (2 hours away) to have lunch at a restaurant we both like. This should put us there shortly after 11 o’clock. (I was already starving.) The bonus was, we had a gift card to this restaurant.

We were on the road less than twenty minutes when neon pink signs appeared along the sides of the highway. Incident ahead. Great! Traffic came to a stop. We rolled on. We stopped. We moved slightly and so on until we came to the incident. A tractor-trailer had tipped over and they were unloading it into another trailer. I felt sorry for that driver, but now we were moving again. It was about a 20-30 minute delay. (My stomach grumbled at the delay, so I fed it a peppermint lifesaver.)

It was past noon when we get to the restaurant for lunch. I already knew what I wanted because I read the menu on my phone. (My stomach demanded “Feed me!” The waitress offered bread, I eagerly accepted.) Reuben sandwich with homemade chips for me. Blackened chicken sandwich with salad for my husband. My Reuben was a disappointment, the bread was toasted not grilled, however the corn beef was tasty and tender. Loved the fresh chips! My husband had no complaints. The gift card totally covered the bill and we were on our way again.

The sun was shining in on me and my seat warmer was on high, so I savored that warmth spreading through my body. I wanted this trip so I would have time to finish reading The False Prince. When I had started it on Sunday, I thought I might abandon the book. However, Jennifer left a comment on my post that made me determined to continue on.

We arrived in St. Louis and headed straight for the REI store. We each wandered around in the sections that interested us. I ended up with a bike skort with capri leggings. My husband found a pair pants where you can zip off the bottom half and have shorts. These pants will work great for traveling when you have to have knees covered but it is hot and you don’t want to wear long pants all day.

Our goal for the day was achieved. We could not think of another thing we wanted to do, so we headed for home. It was a nice diversion. We had been home too many days, trapped by weather. We each got something at the REI store. I finished my book. My husband loved driving the car. (No, we are not getting one.) I did not have to cook lunch or dinner for a day. We were home by 7:30 so I could read slices and make comments. All things considered, it was a good day.

On Sunday I told my son about our adventure. His response was a pause of dead air on the phone, followed by, “That sounds like something retired people would do. Kinda boring.”

I laughed and told him it doesn’t take much to entertain us.

Secret Addiction #5

I have an addiction that only is revealed in the winter when it snows. You might be thinking it’s some thing normal like constructing snowmen, creating snow angels, or engaging in fierce battles with snow balls. But you are not even close to guessing.

Picture in your mind a snowy day, the main streets have been plowed, so you need to get out to pick up a few groceries. You made it to the store, you have parked, and are about to head into the store when you notice a chunk of snow and ice wedged between the tire and the car. What do you do? Ignore it or remove it? I have to nudge  it. (Okay, it’s more like a kick than a nudge.) There is some quirky satisfaction I get from seeing and hearing that chunk fall. THUNK! Once I do one tire, I must check the other three and make that clump fall. Only then can I go into the store to purchase my groceries.

However, as I am walking past the other vehicles, I notice so many cars with icebergs hanging on for dear life. My foot twitches with the desire to “kick the clump,” but I resist (most of the time). I know I should not touch other people’s cars, but sometimes the urge is too great and I sneak a quick kick in when no one is looking.

So the next time you get into your car, check your clump. If it has fallen you may wonder, was the clump kicker here or did it melt and fall on its own?